After Rescue Care
Congratulations on finding your lost companion! Your dog deserves a big hug for being a survivor and a thorough medical exam.
1. DON’T GIVE A DOG UNLIMITED AMOUNTS OF FOOD OR WATER
People often give large amounts of food and water to a dog that looks like it’s starving. This act of kindness can put the animal in further distress and have serious health consequences. Long lost dogs are often emotionally and physically stressed and can’t handle abrupt changes. Small amounts of food and water are best until you take the dog for a professional checkup – ASAP.
2. IMMEDIATELY – TAKE THE DOG TO A VETERINARIAN or 24 HR CLINIC
Let a veterinarian evaluate the dog’s condition in a professional environment. Vital information to tell a “new” doctor you might see in an emergency:
- Number of days the dog was lost.
- Dog’s weight before it got lost – significant loss needs special attention.
- Current status of vaccinations – esp. rabies.
- Pre-existing medical conditions and/or meds
- If you gave the dog food or water, tell the doctor how much was consumed.
The dog should have a complete physical and be checked for ticks, scratches, and wounds. Tests of blood, urine, and stools help detect intestinal parasites, bacterial diseases, and infections. Retest stools later. Dogs are often dehydrated and an IV will replace body fluids and replenish their system. To survive, dogs may drink stagnant or polluted water, and eat decayed food, or remains of wild animals. Scavenging can result in the ingestion of plastic, foil, and other foreign objects. Entire body systems can be severely weakened. If a dog’s health is fragile, ask if non-critical booster vaccines can be delayed, and if flea and tick products should be avoided until the dog’s system is back to normal.
3. AT HOME
Monitor the dog’s health and advise your vet of any changes. Dogs are eager to please, even when ill, but need to rest and recuperate. Keep it calm and quiet and avoid stressful situations. Be patient – just because you’re ready to return to a normal routine, doesn’t mean your dog is. Finding food was a major issue and a dog may become protective of food. Until you determine this isn’t an issue, feed the dog in a separate room or at a different time from other pets.
4. ASAP – CALL EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST TO SAY “THANK YOU!”
ASAP – Remove fliers and signs to send a clear message that the search is over. Removing paper “litter” is also a respectful “Thanks” to all the residents who worried about your dog and wished you well. Remember – the next lost dog searchers need to benefit from the relationship you maintained with the public. Delete posts on websites to free up space for other lost pets.
Debbie (Hall) Scarpellini copy 2/2009